Amongst the various rumours flying around Italy it is very easy to lose sight of what has been one of the longest running transfer sagas of this summer. Roma’s quest for a new goalkeeper began even before the season ended and still they search. When Vincenzo Montella took over as Coach, he immediately dropped Claudio Ranieri’s preferred number one Júlio Sérgio to the bench in favour of Alexandre Doni, but it looked suspiciously like Montella was putting his faith in Doni as the best of a bad bunch rather than a long term first choice.
With Luis Enrique now at the helm, the search for a custodian continues. Already there have been a number of developments this summer that have elongated the saga. A month ago, it appeared that Roma had settled on Emiliano Viviano as their first choice and were negotiating a deal to sign him from Bologna after they acquired the 50% of his rights that were owned by Inter. However, a clerical error resulted in Bologna losing out in a blind auction and Viviano joining Inter, simultaneously ending any hopes the Giallorossi had of signing him.
The somewhat protracted sale of Doni to Liverpool was finally completed last week and with Júlio Sérgio edging closer to joining Lecce on loan, the process of recruiting a replacement could speed up. The leading candidates currently appear to be Maarten Stekelenburg of Ajax and Idriss Carlos Kameni of Espanyol, with the Cameroonian seemingly slightly ahead.
Kameni has long been linked with a move away from Espanyol and has reportedly been the subject of interest from massive clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid in the past. In his time in Spain he has regularly showcased brilliant shot stopping ability that is based on his almost unparalleled athleticism and agility. However, his temperament has been called into question in the past and he is occasionally prone to errors due to a lack of concentration on the pitch. The fact that he is a proven performer in La Liga, though, makes him an attractive prospect for Luis Enrique, who seems keen to sign a number of players with experience of playing in Spain.
While Stekelenburg has never played outside of his native Holland, his performances at the World Cup last summer were certainly eye catching and he has also shown his quality representing Ajax in European competition. He is, however, likely to be more expensive than Kameni and agreeing a fee with Ajax could prove complicated.
An interesting and often forgotten option for Roma is that of Gianluca Curci. The young Italian rejoined the club after Sampdoria were relegated at the end of the season and remains a goalkeeper of great potential. If the new Coach can find a way to bring the best out of Curci, Roma’s new number one may already be on the club’s books.